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Friday, March 8, 2013

Struggle

Romans 7 is baffling to a lot of people.  It is close to the middle of a book that describes and applies the reality that we are justified by faith and not works.  It lies between the chapter that describes our death in Christ and the result of that union, chapter 6; and the amazing reality and impact of the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit as a result of our union with Christ, chapter 8.  We read in Colossians 2:9-10 that we are completed in Christ – that is a great place to start an extended study on the believer’s position in Christ by the way, if you need some guidance on where else to look, let me know and I will send you some ideas.

Romans 7 is confusing.  On the one hand the discourse about the validity of the Law on dead people seems to follow right along with the notion that we have died with Christ.  But Paul’s “wretched” passage has produced more confusion in those with whom I have studied this book than just about any other passage outside prophetic or apocalyptic passages.
How does Romans 7 help us to understand the continual struggle we have as believers?

I am not sure that it is that difficult to get.  His claim on us, since He redeemed us, is complete.  Our following Him though is a struggle as we fight against the desires of our flesh in the midst of a fallen, broken world whose systems and rulers are at best opposed to His rule and in reality hostile to Him and His people.  Paul seems to describe that struggle well.  In a sense Romans 7 is a description of that struggle to the extent that we are trying to follow Christ on our own, in our own strength, but doing the “right” Christian things.

The bottom line, it does not work.

That is why 7:24 – 25 is such a powerful set up for chapter 8.

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